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James Garver

James Richard Garver, 59, Phoenix and Sedona, Ariz., formerly of Middlebury, Lafayette, and LaGrange, Ind., died Thursday, December 18, 2014 at his residence in Phoenix, Ariz.

    He was born February 9, 1955, on the Ft. Hood Army Base in Killeen, Texas.

    Raised in Wolcottville, he was in 4-H for 10 years, he earned countless local, state and national awards and recognition, including the Honorary Kentucky Colonel designation. He was involved in music and theatre, playing lead roles in high school and college productions, and majoring in drama and speech at Ball State University. He taught English and drama at Wayne High School in Ft. Wayne, taught speech and drama at Lakeland High School in LaGrange, became assistant principal, then principal of Lakeland High School in LaGrange and principal of William Henry Harrison High School in West Lafayette, Ind. He received a Master’s degree in education from Indiana University in 1979, and a Doctorate in Education Administration in 2004, completing most coursework at Purdue University and obtaining the Ph.D. degree from Madison University in Gulfport, Miss. His last position in Indiana was assistant superintendent at Middlebury Community Schools. He and his wife moved to Arizona in 1999, where he became director of curriculum and instruction in Alhambra Elementary School District, then associate superintendent of educational services at Deer Valley Unified School District, from where he retired in 2005. For many years while still working in public education, he contributed to the professional development of teachers and administrators by presenting workshops and delivering keynotes at national conferences through education companies National School Conference Institute, Learning 24/7, Teachscape, Solution Tree, and A+ Educators. He also taught education leadership courses as an adjunct professor for Northern Arizona University. He was active in many education and community organizations, receiving honors throughout the years in Indiana and Arizona, including an Educational Leadership grant through the Eli Lilly Foundation, was named an Andrews Fellow at Purdue University, was appointed by Indiana and Arizona governors to state education committees, and served on committees for state and national councils and associations for principals and superintendents. He was founder and director of the Land-of-Lakes Community Players in LaGrange and appeared as a cast member in civic theatre productions in Lafayette, Ind. He was a lifelong member of numerous professional and civic organizations at the state and national level. In recent years, he invested in Broadway productions. In 2006, he and close friend John Antonetti of Little Rock, Ark., started an education consulting partnership, Colleagues on Call. He traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada, working with teachers, principals, and central office administrators to improve school leadership, higher achievement, and academic success for students and teachers. He self-published two books, 10 Secrets to Higher Student Achievement andCoaching for Achievement: A Playbook for Teachers and Their Leaders. With business partner Antonetti, he co-authored Focus on Learning: A Process for Personal and Collaborative Reflection and numerous training products. In February 2015, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development will publish another co-authored book, 17,000 Classroom Visits Can’t Be Wrong.

    Surviving are his wife, Loretta (Lorie Niemier) Garver; three children, Jessica Garver, Shane Garver, and Amanda (Ralphy) Garver Waugh; two stepchildren, Erin (Jeffery) Sparks Montgomery and Trevor Sparks; three grandchildren, Arianna Waugh, Kiara Waugh, and Sloane Montgomery; one sister, Deb (Bruce) Gulley; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

    He was preceded in death by his mother, Carolyn Targgart Garver Bickley, and his grandparents, Richard and Dorothy (Hodge) Targgart.

    Celebration of Life will take place at a later date in LaGrange.

    Memorials may be directed to a memorial fund set up at St. Jude’s Children Hospital,

    Online condolences may be sent at www.bestfuneralservices. com.

    Best Funeral Services in Phoenix, Ariz., is in charge of arrangements.